BURUNDI: “Soleil-Nyakiriza” project starts for solar and clean cooking

Faced with the difficulties of access to electricity in rural areas of Burundi, the government is launching the “Soleil-Nyakiriza” project. The initiative is expected to provide off-grid solar systems to households, as well as improved stoves for clean cooking.

In Burundi, the Rural Community Solar Energy Project, also known as “Soleil-Nyakiriza”, is underway. It was recently launched by the Burundian Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines. The aim is to improve access to electricity from renewable sources in rural areas by 2030. According to the African Development Bank (ADB), the situation is more worrying in this area of the East African country with an almost zero rate of access to electricity (2% in 2019). Soleil-Nyakiriza” also aims to improve access to clean cooking solutions over the same period, in order to reduce deforestation.

Over the next few years, the project plans to install off-grid solar systems in 65,000 households in Burundi, as well as providing improved stoves to 300,000 households.

Subsidising the production companies

The equipment will be manufactured by private sector companies specialised in the production and distribution of off-grid solar systems and improved cookstoves of “certified” quality to end consumers. These companies will be financed through a special fund set up within the framework of the “Soleil-Nyakiriza” project. This is the $17 million Solar Energy and Cooking Fund (FESEC), funded by the World Bank.

Bamboo Capital Partners has been appointed international administrator-manager of FESEC by the Burundian Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines. According to the impact investment platform, the fund has three funding windows. These include start-up grants targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wishing to launch their activities in the sectors targeted by the Fund, growth grants targeting established companies with the capacity to distribute off-grid solar products as well as efficient and clean cooking products, and results-based financing (grants awarded to beneficiaries on the basis of sales and installations achieved, editor’s note).

The FESEC fund, established for a fixed term until its closure on 1 March 2026, also aims to promote women’s entrepreneurship through the allocation of a share of grants dedicated to this purpose.